Sunday, Dec 04, 2016
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Fire chief reminds event coordinators to have crowd managers

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The Star Spangled Banner celebration at Fort Meigs State Memorial Park draws a big crowd in Perrysburg.

THE BLADE
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With a fall full of packed high school stadiums and other large events, Perrysburg Fire Chief Jeff Klein reminded those hosts that Ohio law requires crowd managers when more than 1,000 people are to be at an event.

Chief Klein said it is up to the event coordinator to have a crowd manager. 

"I think it is a good idea," Chief Klein said about the state fire code established last year. "We ask people at restaurants, if there was a fire, would they leave out the closest exit or the front door they came in at?"

Crowd managers are to be in charge of exiting the crowds in the fastest, safest possible way in case of an emergency. They also are supposed to keep count of people entering the venue to know how many people are there. Restaurants or other facilities have a capacity number, and the fire department wants to be sure that is not exceeded by having a crowd manager monitor that.

Perrysburg Fire Safety Inspector Tom Granata said the fire department can force a venue to be evacuated and then have the crowd manager count the patrons as they come back in to be sure the allowed capacity has not been exceeded.

Crowd managers also have to know any potential threats such as a tornado warning or thunderstorms and how to successfully evacuate the crowd.

Chief Klein said under this new code, the city will have to re-think how it operates for Fourth of July Fireworks in the park. He said the fire department may have to have four or five crowd managers in Fort Meigs to successfully move people out in the same direction safely if something were to happen. 

"This crowd manager could be needed for an auditorium [event] or church festival," Mr. Granata said. 

Contact Matt Thompson at: mthompson@theblade.com, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.

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